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    CLAIREINPARIS   60,475
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints

From garden to garden around Pontoise

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Hello dear Sparkfriends,

This weekend is one of my favorite events in France: ‘Rendez-vous aux jardins’, which could be translated: ‘Let’s meet at the gardens’. It is a kind of National Gardens Day. Many gardens open to the public that day, including private ones. It is awesome! I have been to many gardens that way over the years, and I always enjoy talking with their owners. Gardeners are nice people! :)

Today, I decided to go back to Pontoise, a town I love and which opens over 20 gardens for the ‘Rendez-vous aux jardins’. The blooming tree you see above was in the garden of the Tavet Museum.

If you do it properly (!), you leave your car somewhere and you walk everywhere. It means LOTS of walking as Pontoise isn’t a tiny little town and it means great exercise as it is built on a steep hill. A great afternoon if you ask me! :) That way, you get to see the streets better and unusual sights like this abandoned chapel...

... or this very narrow tower, all that is left from an 18th century castle...

Some of the private gardens that are open to the public for the ‘Rendez-vous aux jardins’ used to be places where the impressionist painters (especially Pissarro, who lived in Pontoise for part of his life) liked to paint. It was the case for this garden (the Hermitage Vegetable Garden), which now belongs to an association...

Another garden which was also an inspiration for impressionists a long time ago, when it was an orchard, didn’t have much interest but exhibited some nice black and white pictures...

To be honest, I wasn’t always convinced by the art shown in the gardens...

... but it was fun anyway! I enjoyed the less professional gardens, and the less professional art shows, the most... That one especially...

There was also a guitarist playing some classical music... I didn’t dare to take a picture of him as I couldn’t interrupt him to ask. But it really did add a special touch to the visit of the garden.

In the town center, the market was packing, so I didn’t stop (for once!) to take pictures of the fresh products. Instead, after the Tavet Museum garden, I headed to the rose garden near the town hall.

Unfortunately, the roses had been too cold these last few weeks and only very few were out.

I crossed the town’s garden and loved its bandstand.

Further down the hill, I reached the garden of L’hôtel Le Vasseur de Verville, which is a beautiful 18th century house and was open to the public for the first time (in this context, ‘l’hôtel’ doesn’t mean ‘hotel’ as it usually does, it means a grand townhouse).

The interest of the next garden, rue Saint-Jean, wasn’t the garden itself...

The owner is a passionate beekeeper!

He explained to me that there is about 40,000 bees per hive. And there can be many more! (Considering that he had four hives, that was a bit too many bees for me, but they weren’t aggressive so that was a relief!)

I bought some of his honey (I had brought back some honey from Egypt last month but decided to keep it for a friend I’ll be visiting in Scotland next week, I thought that would be something quite exotic to bring as there is a Coptic monk printed on the sticker!)...
I just had some in my yogurt and it is really lovely, with a strong taste -- he said it was 90% acacia.

The last garden was a long walk away, but well worth the effort! It took me under the Clos des Anglaises’ arch. It is called that way because English nuns used to have a monastery there. In 1658, they ran away from the persecutions in England and found refuge in Pontoise. The arch is all that is left from the monastery, and the garden I visited used to be part of their huge domain.

The house, built in 1897, was a lovely sand color. The garden was very long, down the hill (but not too steep)...

They had built an insects haven. I found it so interesting! Apparently it attracts all kinds of bugs and bees which feel safe in it.

But what I liked the most was certainly the view over the other side of Pontoise and the Saint-Maclou church. I hope you can have an idea of how beautiful it was, the picture is very small!

And then it was time to leave the inviting chairs behind and go home to put my tired feet up!

My sparkpage starts with : ‘Sparkpeople is bringing so much to my life.’ I was thinking about that today... Countless times over the months since I started blogging, knowing that you were expecting my blog about my hike or walk encouraged me to go out and do what I had intended... when otherwise I might have stayed at home and work or be lazy! Today was one of these days (there is so much work at the moment!). So, thank you very much for all your support and comments, you can’t imagine all that they bring to me!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MARKATSPARK 7/29/2015 6:02PM


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CATNCAG 12/26/2013 2:31PM

    Thanks Claire for taking us with you on a wonderful journey! I love your pics & your very descriptive blogs! I hope u are having an awesome holiday & I wish u the best in the New Year!!!

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SUPERSYLPH 8/11/2013 2:14PM

    Thank you for sharing your pictures and walking adventure!

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CFMOSS 6/23/2013 2:47PM

    I'm so glad you travel - your pictures are lovely - I confess to jealousy rearing its jealous head, but oh I'm glad to vicariously enjoy. Thanks again and again.

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ARTJAC 6/22/2013 1:57AM


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4329EMRD 6/20/2013 12:45PM

    I just love exploring gardens, thank you for the pictures.

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TATTER3 6/18/2013 8:31PM

    I never tire of your pics and stories. What a gift you are being given to see so many precious places in this world. Love visiting!!

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JAVAJO47 6/14/2013 8:52AM

    Merci beaucoup pour les photo...ils est tres joli!! Ok so my French is rather limited but I do want to say you have an awesome talent and an eye for great beauty. Would love to be in your part of the world taking pics :) In August I will be traveling to Belgium, Germany and Austria and hope to capture some beautiful scenes as well. Thanks again and look forward to seeing more! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRAMPIAN 6/13/2013 6:22AM

  Vaut un voyage! emoticon

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NEWNANCY2012 6/10/2013 5:51PM

    Your blog was so enjoyable. emoticon

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MAW_OH 6/10/2013 2:22PM

    Thanks for taking us along on your journeys!

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EFFRAYECHILDE 6/10/2013 11:14AM

    Lovely walk as always.

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FITMAY 6/9/2013 1:51PM

    Your blogs bring so much inspiration and peace to my day... Loved this blog and love ya' dear friend!
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    Thank you again for including us in your beautiful life. U R Awesome !!!

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ROXYCARIN 6/9/2013 12:48AM


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4EVERNESS 6/8/2013 11:26PM

    You found flowers in french gardens? Sorry, all the pics I've seen of them online, there were noooooo flowers. Major harumph!

Looking for some paintings so I knew for sure who did them so as not to sound like a total idiot (Renoir, Monet, Manet), I ran across something else that perhaps you might find amusing...a spinoff of a Gainsborough:

I found it amusing.

Enjoy Scotland! The people are soooooo nice. When living in England (before my divorce) I was not to go to France and Germany with him as 'my place was at home with the children'...... Ta

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  Absolutely stunning!

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JOS4EVER 6/8/2013 7:33PM

    I absolutley loved the pictures. Great blog. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful!

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CORNERKICK 6/8/2013 1:29PM

  Absolutely beautiful!!

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JRRING 6/8/2013 10:13AM


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DWSCHUYLER 6/8/2013 7:20AM

    What a wonderful idea for a holiday. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. I especially loved the one of the lupines. They are one of my favorites. I read a book to my first graders every year about a lady who makes "the world more beautiful" by sowing lupine seeds all over. This is what your pictures did- it made my world more beautiful today!
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RENATA144 6/7/2013 2:05PM

  Thank you -merci beaucoup -for sharing your beautiful pix !!

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JUDYAMK 6/6/2013 11:12PM

    Oh Dear Claire you have no idea how much I appreciate you. You bring your world to us in such a way I could never begin to tell you!!!

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NHEMBERGER 6/6/2013 12:08PM

    What a wonderful walk! Thanks for sharing!

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PENOWOK 6/6/2013 8:45AM

    I so enjoy your walks!

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TDEMAIO2 6/6/2013 6:21AM

    WOW!!! thank you for the beautiful picture :)

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LISALGB 6/5/2013 11:10AM

    I really think Pontoise is my favorite of all the places you have shared with us. It is simply lovely. I just want to stroll through the streets and enjoy the beauty.
Thank you, again, dear Claire. You have a gift of bringing me along with you.

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MAYBER 6/5/2013 8:40AM

    Awesome Thank you for sharing you pictures and thoughts
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MANILUS 6/5/2013 1:08AM

    It is wonderful to look at all the flowers, I just planted a bunch in my yard. For all the back-breaking work, I hope it turns out good. My favorite I planted are peonies, looking for to the sweet smell and look of a beautiful yard! It is wonderful that your fitness is kept up by blogging about it!

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L1ZB3TH354 6/5/2013 12:08AM

    Magnificent! Thanks for sharing!

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WALKINGCHICK 6/4/2013 3:43PM

    Well done on another interesting and inspiring blog! emoticon emoticon

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ASPENHUGGER 6/4/2013 11:34AM

    How very lovely! Thanks for sharing!

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ELINTY 6/4/2013 9:38AM

  beautiful pictures

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CAROLJ35 6/3/2013 10:33PM

    Lovely, lovely!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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KKLENNERT809 6/3/2013 10:18PM

    What can I say? It's all been said and I agree with everyone. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pics and tour. emoticon

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NORASPAT 6/3/2013 9:37PM

    WHOA, Claire Finding the ends of your blogs takes time. I am such a flower lover I really enjoyed the iris picture it shows such beautiful texture.
You are definitely an artist with your camera, Lovely photos. HUGS Pat in Maine.
Blogging keeps my mind busy and I love to think about the people I can respond to since I have few contacts with our family in England. I love where we are but it is too tame for my family from over the water. They prefer the noisy life. I would love to be in those beautiful gardens. Our plants are just beginning to bloom.
Finally we have warmed up so things will move very fast from here.
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CAROLYN1ALASKA 6/3/2013 6:26PM

    J'adore votre blog! Merci...

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ANYVAR54 6/3/2013 4:58PM

    Loved all the pictures. Thank you for sharing.

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KHALIA2 6/3/2013 4:57PM

  Thank you for such a beautiful journey!

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HEALTHY4ME 6/3/2013 4:56PM

    Every time you blog with pictures it reminds me of my youth as my dad was military and we lived in Germany, France, Belgium and then back to Germany. I love these pics awesome. THANKS

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ALIDOSHA 6/3/2013 3:39PM

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LIZALOT 6/3/2013 2:12PM

    lovely blog Claire. and gorgeous photos. thanks once again for sharing. i was probably singing in Pontoise while you were wandering around. we practise there. have you visited the jardin des cinq sens? it used to be lovely, but i don't think it's quite so well looked after now. it's in the parc du château.

hugs and well done for all that climbing!

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ABUFFKIN 6/3/2013 11:55AM

    How beautiful!!! I love gardens and gardening!!

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COOKWITHME65 6/3/2013 11:26AM

    Just lovely Claire. Beautiful as always. :)

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DEBLYNN323 6/3/2013 11:25AM

    What a beautiful adventure! Thanks for sharing!

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ADRIENALINE 6/3/2013 10:20AM


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STALEYK 6/3/2013 10:03AM

    How beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us!

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ANNASMOM12 6/3/2013 9:57AM


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HAKAPES 6/3/2013 9:37AM

    Congratulations for being featured!

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